D1 - Waiting to tee off

A wait to tee off provides time for banter on Tuesday. From left are Emily Balding of Brookfield Central, Emily Lauterbach of Hartland Arrowhead, Erin Ericson of Onalaska and Mia Seeman of Milton.

A story in Golfweek magazine last fall spoke to the changing culture of opportunity in NCAA Division I and II collegiate women's golf.

After years of riding the wave of the widely shared perception that the easiest path to an athletic scholarship among high school girls was via a fairway, college golf coaches at those levels are dialing back significantly on the message. They still have scholarships to give (the equivalent of six fulls in Division I and 5.4 in Division II), but few — if any — are sitting idle and, at least in Division I, those that are awarded are given only to those who pass rigorous standards.

“I am so glad you are doing a story on this because I am so tired of hearing this,” Boise State head coach Nicole Bird told Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols, whose story tried to clear up those expired thinking. “Parents in women’s golf expect a full ride, no matter how good (or bad) their daughter is because they think there is an overwhelming number of scholarships available.”

Indeed, as Hartland Arrowhead export Emily Lauterbach — the No. 1 golfer in Wisconsin.Golf's girls class of 2019 — gets set to leave for the University of Wisconsin next month, the burning question among families with girls in the next three classes is this: When will we see another homegrown Badger?

Many would like to think that Green Bay's Jo Baranczyk — still our No. 1 golfer in the Class of 2021 — has shown enough potential to start the summer to warrant at least some interest from the state's flagship Division I program. Either way, Baranczyk is busily pursuing multiple options and told me last month she hopes to make a college decision by year's end.

UW-Green Bay's Lee Reinke, in three short years since adding the title of women's golf coach to what is now a director of golf title for the Phoenix, has done a masterful job with each of his three recruiting classes of bringing in seven in-state golfers whose best golf was ahead of them. UWGB will have just one senior this fall — Oconomowoc's Alix Larson — but, due in part to injuries to Beaver Dam's Ashley Kulka and Verona's Lauren Shorter that caused them to redshirt in 2018-19, there won't be an abundance of opportunity in Reinke's women's program for incoming freshmen until the fall of 2021.

As we unveil the first mid-year updates to our annual November rankings, there is one area of college golf that does have a wealth of opportunity that matches up well the level of talent emerging in the next three classes.

The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which has enjoyed some of its best and most balanced competition over the last three years, graduates the most impactful class in WIAC history next spring when two-time defending champion UW-Whitewater, UW-Stout and UW-Oshkosh bid farewell to some of their  most decorated golfers. Whitewater's Ashley Hofmeister, CheyAnn Knudsen and Kelly Storti, Stout's Trystin Kluess, Madison McCambridge and Alexa Filipiak and Oshkosh's Hannah Braun have taken turns helping their teams set school records and raise the bar for NCAA Division III golf in Wisconsin. But by this time next year they will be gone.

Unfortunately, to this point, many junior golf families over the past 10 years have wrinkled their nose at the suggestion Division III golf will give them any kind of return on their investment of time and money that they have made in junior tournaments designed to give their daughters a shot at Division I and II scholarships. Many of those who have gone Division I, Division II or bust then find limited or no playing opportunities at the Division I level and Division II experiences that lose a lot of their luster (or vanish entirely) after the signing ceremony.

However, even national scouting services are now touting the virtues of Division III options. On its Website, the Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) reports that 80 percent of Division III athletes receive non-athletics aid, often in the form of grants, merit-based and/or need-based scholarships to academically qualified athletes. In addition, 87 percent of Division III athletes graduate.

Like Division II programs, which tend to offset money invested in its athletic scholarships by short-changing the salaries given to their coaches, Division III opportunities require the same degree of homework with regard to quality of academic and athletic programs, overall resources, proven ability of coaches to make their golfers better and chances for success in a given conference.

By the way, WIAC schools haven't cornered the market on Division III opportunity.

Carthage College in Kenosha has finished second the last four years to Illinois Wesleyan in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. UW-Superior brought back women's golf in 2015 after it left the WIAC and won the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference in its first year in the conference. Schools in the Northern Athletic Collegiate Conference have yet to crown a conference champion with a 54-hole score under 1,000 so simple math suggests all it would take for schools such as Concordia-Mequon, Edgewood College (Madison), Lakeland University (Sheboygan) or, starting in 2020, St. Norbert (De Pere), would be four scores of 85 or better all three days.

Based on the early returns of Wisconsin's girls Class of 2020, those kind of opportunities might be worth pursuing. Wauwatosa's Rachel Kauflin and Franklin's Mallory Swartz have orally committed to Central Michigan and Bowling Green State, respectively, drawn by the potential to make a swift impact at second-division programs in the Mid-American Conference. It is unlikely the golfers ranked behind them will draw greater interest.

Of course, whether a golfer is ranked first or 50th, a college opportunity ultimately becomes what is made of it.

That's one quality that did emerge in all four classes for which we have updated our rankings. There are a lot of golfers quietly doing the little things to improve their place in their class.

Here are a few quick observations:

Class of 2019: Lauterbach continues to set a high bar, but Hayward native Gabby Tremblay, who spent her final two years of high school at Shattuck St. Mary's, a private school in Minnesota, showed she has tremendous potential. The Creighton recruit shot 76-79 at the Wisconsin State Women's Open last month and finished tied for seventh. ... This rankings update reflects the work done by girls playing on boys golf teams in the spring and that group was led by Sheboygan Lutheran senior Emma Egbert, who helped the Crusaders place third in the WIAA Division 3 state tournament; and Wabeno-Laona's Grace Warrner, who qualified for the state tournament individually. Egbert will attend Colorado State and study bio-mechanical engineering but not play golf; Warrner will compete at UW-Stout this fall. 

Class of 2020: Swartz has gotten her summer off to a blistering start, highlighted by the opportunity to play in the final group the final day at the Wisconsin State Women's Open, where she tied for fourth. She liked what she saw of Bowling Green and committed once offered a scholarship opportunity last week. Kauflin got off to somewhat of a slow start, which is understandable given that she and her father spent U.S. Open week as a standard bearer and walking scorer, respectively, at Pebble Beach (Calif.). She started to show her form again this past week at the inaugural Wisconsin Dells Junior Championship, where she shot 73-76 to win by 10 shots over 2021 No. 3 Caylie Kotlowski of Stoughton.

Class of 2021: Baranczyk has become the rock of this class and, already this summer, shown a better consistency than she has in past years. The big question remains: What level of college opportunity will that earn her by the time she would like to make a decision at the end of the 2019 golf season. No. 2 Elise Hoven, one of the hardest-working golfers in any class, is starting to show signs of taking her game to the next level. Stoughton's Kotlowski has perhaps the greatest physical potential of anyone in this class, but it remains to be seen how long Division I college coaches give her to show them that she can take it low with the consistency they want to see.

Class of 2022: Sarah Balding's appearance in the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club the week before The Masters cemented her name as the No. 1 golfer among this year's freshmen. There has already been a lot of movement this summer among the golfers behind her as they attempt to determine how much competitive golf to play and how rigorous to make their schedules. Inevitably, less is more among the younger classes as they build around the two solid months of daily golf during the high school season.

Girls Class of 2019

The Wisconsin.Golf class-by-class rankings are compiled by digital editor Rob Hernandez based on an analysis of tournament results and overall impact of golfers within their class. Opinions and insight on golfers in this class are welcome and will be used for future rankings; updates on college decisions are also welcome. They can be shared via email at robhernandezdotgolf@gmail.com.  

No. First name Last name
1 Emily Lauterbach Hartland Arrowhead Wisconsin 1 1 1
2 Gabby Tremblay Hayward/Shattuck St. Mary's Creighton 2 NR 7
3 Maggie Veenendall New Richmond Sioux Falls (S.D.) 3 10 13
4 Lexi Meade Eau Claire Memorial Drake 3 2 2
5 Annie Balduzzi La Crosse Aquinas Sioux Falls (S.D.) 6 6 3
6 Clair Phakamad Appleton Xavier TBA 5 NR NR
7 Taylor Hakala Milton Northern Michigan 7 3 4
8 Kendra Swanson Beaver Dam UW-Stout 10 15 14
9 Lillian Knetter Madison West Emory (Ga.) 30 18 NR
10 Sydney Brown Eau Claire North St. Catherine's (Minn.) 8 4 5
11 Samantha Soulier Waunakee Minnesota State-Mankato 16 9 15
12 Emily Neff Hayward Wisconsin (academics) 9 5 6
13 Emma Egbert Sheboygan Lutheran Colorado State (academics) 29 31 10
14 Madeline Koenig Kettle Moraine TBA (academics) 12 7 NR
15 Kirsten Leonardi Sussex Hamilton St. Thomas (Minn.) 13 12 19
16 Sophia Dooman Janesville Parker St. Thomas (Minn.) 11 8 9
17 Klairissa O'Reilly-Dye Monona Grove UW-Stout 17 11 11
18 Grace Warrner Laona-Wabeno UW-Stout 26 16 8
19 Bonnie Jin Brookfield Central Wisconsin (club golf) 14 20 NR
20 Anouska Siva Brookfield East Carnegie Mellon 14 25 23
21 Katie Gerschke Milw. St. Thomas More Rockhurst University (Mo.) 18 17 NR
22 Aubrie Torhorst Waterford Grinnell (Iowa) 19 13 NR
23 Lily Sheppard Kaukauna UW-Whitewater 25 14 NR
24 Madi Vine Orfordville Parkview Missouri Western 22 NR NR
25 Madison LaPaz Oconomowoc UW-Whitewater 20 23 NR
26 Erica Feuerhelm Ellsworth Montevallo (Alabama) 40 NR NR
27 Julia Hayden Durand UW-Eau Claire 37 NR NR
28 Maddie Krogwold Brookfield East Wisconsin (academics) 21 24 NR
29 Emily Anderson Kaukauna Marquette (academics) 23 NR NR
30 Elizabeth Mantey Kettle Moraine TBA (academics) 24 NR NR
31 Elizabeth Santos Fox Valley Lutheran Lake Forest (Ill.) 27 37 25
32 Kennedy Patrick Clayton Hamline (Minn.) (basketball) 28 NR NR
33 Isabella Dory Menomonee Falls Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.) 33 21 NR
34 Emma Moore Kaukauna UW-La Crosse 31 19 22
35 Katie Glander Luxemburg-Casco Northeast Wisconsin Tech 32 NR NR
36 Cosette Shefelker Menomonee Falls NA 34 22 NR
37 Ashley Weber Waukesha Catholic Memorial NA 35 40 NR
38 Cassidy Schnell DeForest St. Olaf (Minn.) 47 NR NR
39 Bree Borgan Neenah NA 36 NR NR
40 Grace Westerman Oconomowoc UW-Whitewater 38 NR NR
41 Caroline Kroeninger Arrowhead Carroll University 39 NR NR
42 Lauren Craig West Bend West/East Minnesota (academics) 41 NR NR
43 Keegan Destree Wilmot UW-Green Bay (academics) 42 NR NR
44 Ashlyn Burdick Janesville Parker Carroll University 43 NR NR
45 Alyssa Aschenreiner Onalaska Wisconsin (academics) 44 39 NR
46 McKenzie Maguire Menomonie UW-Stout 45 38 NR
47 Olivia Reichardt Appleton East Wisconsin (academics) 46 32 21
48 Aly Payne Oregon TBA (academics) 48 NR NR
49 Grace Hoffman Franklin Saint Louis University (academics) 49 NR NR
50 Lauren Raboin Superior College of St. Scholastica HM NR NR
HM Ashley Johnson Sussex Hamilton Viterbo HM NR NR
HM Lauren Alioto Oconomowoc Carroll University HM NR NR
HM Maddison Fenner Lakeside Lutheran William Woods (Mo.) HM NR NR
HM Alaina Aschenbrenner Franklin Carroll University HM
HM Anna Davidson Portage Viterbo University HM NR NR
HM Molly Susedik Ladysmith Viterbo University HM NR NR

Girls Class of 2020

No. First name Last name High School College Nov.
1 Rachel Kauflin Wauwatosa East/West Central Michigan 1 5 6
Mallory Swartz Franklin Bowling Green (Ohio) 2 3 7
3 Holly Murphy Lake Geneva Badger North Dakota State 2 1 4
4 Kate Meier Middleton 4 4 2
5 Grace Welch Madison Edgewood UW-Green Bay 5 2 1
6 Myranda Kotlowski Stoughton 12 13 NR
7 Meredith Boos Waukesha Catholic Memorial 15 NR NR
8 Sami Krutz Brookfield Central 6 NR NR
9 Grace Suter Oconomowoc 7 20 NR
10 Kiernan Smith Maple Northwestern 9 NR NR
11 Sadie Kelly Pulaski 20 NR NR
12 Julia Schilling Kettle Moraine 8 8 NR
13 Carly Moon Baraboo Winona (Minn.) State 18 NR NR
14 Claudia Seeman Milton Will not play 10 6 3
15 Andrea Schleeper Verona NR
16 Rylie Severson Ashwaubenon Winona (Minn.) State 13 NR NR
17 Anaka Leske Madison Edgewood 32 18 15
18 Jessica Hagman New Richmond Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.) 11 7 5
19 Hannah Harper River Falls 30 17 13
20 Abby Nickel Stevens Point 14 24 NR
21 Ellie Kaiser Hartland Arrowhead 16 NR NR
22 Ellie Schneider De Pere 17 NR NR
23 Maddie Wilke Cedarburg 26 NR NR
24 Ellie Craig Mukwonago 19 9 8
25 Ariel Heuer Fall Creek 31 NR NR
26 Haley Myers Somerset 23 11 NR
27 Anna Cesarz Milwaukee DSHA 35 21 NR
28 Isabelle Gaudion Kettle Moraine NR
29 Abby DeMoe Colfax 24 12 10
30 Sara Nerad Janesville Craig 25 22 NR
31 Cadie Ash Waupaca 28 NR NR
32 Brooke Ehle Waunakee 27 14 NR
33 Emma Onesti Green Bay Preble 29 NR NR
34 Sydney O'Hearn Sun Prairie 21 NR NR
35 Makenzie Hodson Middleton 22 19 NR
36 Rylee Haines Arcadia 33 23 9
37 Kady Cawley Kettle Moraine 34 10 NR
38 Alyssa Dreher Kewaskum/Campbellsport 36 NR NR
39 Caitlyn Ott Verona 37 15 NR
40 Amanda Ruona Hartford 38 16 NR
HM Anna Krieski Reedsburg Winona (Minn.) State NR NR NR

Girls Class of 2021

The Wisconsin.Golf class-by-class rankings are compiled by digital editor Rob Hernandez based on an analysis of tournament results and overall impact of golfers within their class. Opinions and insight on golfers in this class are welcome and will be used for future rankings; updates on college decisions are also welcome. They can be shared via email at robhernandezdotgolf@gmail.com.  

No. First name Last name High school Nov.
1 Jo Baranczyk Bay Port 1 1
2 Elise Hoven Cedarburg 2 2
3 Caylie Kotlowski Stoughton 3 5
4 Caitlyn Hegenbarth Madison Edgewood 5 6
5 Jolie Guyette De Pere 25 NR
6 Isa Pierri Glendale Nicolet 16 NR
7 Amanda Karvala New Berlin Eisenhower 15 NR
8 Glenna Sanderson Middleton 8 NR
9 Kallie Lux Janesville Craig 4 3
10 Maya Heckmann Lakeside Lutheran 14 13
11 Ellie Behring Oak Creek 20 15
12 Lauren Haen Appleton Xavier 9 10
13 Veronica Parco Union Grove 12 19
14 Aly Kinzel Waunakee 7 4
15 Grace Jaeger Madison Edgewood 6 9
16 Izzie Mort Whitefish Bay 21 16
17 Reagan Stuke Kettle Moraine NR NR
18 Grace Weiss Milton NR NR
19 Leah Minchk Muskego NR NR
20 Amber Nguyen Onalaska 10 8
21 Alyssa Schmidt Oregon 11 NR
22 Callie Hakala Milton 22 11
23 Sophie Denure Portage 23 NR
24 Sydney Grimm Waunakee 24 NR
25 Bridget McCarthy Madison Memorial 25 18
Zjeneexa Vang Sheboygan North/South NR NR

Girls Class of 2022

The Wisconsin.Golf class-by-class rankings are compiled by digital editor Rob Hernandez based on an analysis of tournament results and overall impact of golfers within their class. Opinions and insight on golfers in this class are welcome and will be used for future rankings; updates on college decisions are also welcome. They can be shared via email at robhernandezdotgolf@gmail.com.  

No. First name Last name High school Nov.
1 Sarah Balding Brookfield Central 1
2 Lauren Peterson Hartland Arrowhead 4
3 Madeline Fiebig Kettle Moraine 3
4 Jenna Anderson Kettle Moraine 2
5 Avery Dudra Bay Port 11
6 Annie Murphy Lake Geneva Badger 8
7 Angelina Myhr Madison La Follette 6
8 Callie Berg Freedom NR
9 Ellie Frisch Middleton 5
10 Milanne Dahmen Middleton 10
11 Julia Fischer Mukwonago 9
12 Sophie Pokela Tomah NR
13 Lannie Veenendall New Richmond 7
14 Karyle Kriewaldt Middleton 15
15 Taryn Endres DeForest 12